It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Part two of a report by Crikey political correspondent Bernard Keane on the awarding of a airport body scanner contract by the Australian Government without conducting a risk analysis
So who is the real beneficiary of the government’s decision to impose body-scanning technology on international passengers?
Step forward L-3 Communications, a key member of the US defence establishment and one with links to some of the worst scandals of the past decade.
The company will reap $28 million dollars from the government’s obsession with security theatre that has no demonstrated security benefits, through its provision of body scanners.
But even as the US looks to cut back defence spending, with flow-on effects for big suppliers such as L-3, the fertile field of security theatre has opened up as a revenue source — there’s little or no political will to cut war-on-terror funding. By 2010, the company had provided nearly $US40 million worth of body scanners following the “underwear bomber”, having massively ramped up its lobbying effort. Not unhelpful is the fact that several US congressional representatives have big L-3 shareholdings, including former 2004 Democrat presidential candidate John Kerry.
Here, the company (with headquarters in Canberra) is represented by two lobbyist outfits. Its specialised night vision and targeting division is represented by defence specialist lobbyists Owen International while its maritime defence equipment arm L-3 Nautronix is represented by CMAX, headed by Tara and Christian Taubenschlag; the latter was Joel Fitzgibbon’s press adviser.
The scanners will be used at international airports around Australia under new federal government security requirements.
The Federal Government will introduce legislation this week so the technology can be rolled out in all of Australia's international airports.
Transport Minister Anthony Albanese says people's bodies will appear only as outlines, and the images will not be able to be copied and will not be stored.
But only one type of full-body airport scanner - the backscatter x-ray machine which is used in some US airports - exposes individuals to ionising radiation.
The Federal Government says that type of machine will not be used in Australia.
"The millimetre-wave body scanners are perfectly safe and one body scan is comparable to passive exposure to a mobile phone used several metres away," Mr Albanese said in a statement.